When I was 15 years old I decided that the best thing for my self would be to operate my sunken chest. I mostly found AMA's about people who currently have Pectus Excavatum, so I figured I would make one post-operation.


Right side of my chest: http://imgur.com/YqsUUPG Poor quality, but if you look some centimeters above the ''R'' you can see the remains of a 3 year old scar.

Left side of my chest: http://imgur.com/QRF0YxO Here you can see the scar a bit more clearer.

A picture my mom took some days before the operation. About 3 years ago: http://imgur.com/5aKBsYz

Comments: 155 • Responses: 55  • Date: 

RabbitGod15 karma

How much did all this end up costing?

LifeWithPectus45 karma

Well the thing is, I live in Norway. So because of the way we run our healthcare system it didn't cost me or my family a single dollar because I was underage at the time.

liketosee10 karma

Is your bar still in and did you ever have any blackouts before or after the procedure? My friend's son just went through this surgery 3 weeks ago.

LifeWithPectus13 karma

Yes, I still have the bar in me. The bar was supposed to be in me for 3 years, and so far it's been there for 2 years and about 11 months. Going to take it out someday in October:)

I have never experienced having blackouts because of the condition, honestly I didn't even know it could happen. I would not worry about this happening!

Best of luck and fortune to your friends son, even though it's not needed! He is going to be fine:)

Burnt_Couch3 karma

I'm getting bars put in my chest in October, got any tips?

LifeWithPectus6 karma

Stay calm, don't overthink it, and keep in mind that it will all be worth it.

Best of luck! Feel free to message me about any further questions. :)

Burnt_Couch2 karma


LifeWithPectus6 karma

The first 2 days i spent laying on my back. The 3rd and 4th was exactly the same except I sat up when eating dinner. The 5th and 6th day I carefully walked up and down the hall one time before going to bed again. The 7th day I went home, but couldn't go to school for another week. Could slightly exercise after 2 months, and fully functioning after 6 months. :)

amaranto211 karma

I had the same operation done and now I am better than ever, I actually have two bars in me instead of one because of how bad my condition was. I second the experience you went through as mine was very similar. It feels so weird for the first coupe months but you get used to it. The best thing I ever did was start to lift and it made me feel way less fragile. Im even considering if I ever have to take the bars out at all anymore. Im 18 and coming up on my 3 years with the bars and they just feel like apart of me and if I have to get them out then I will dearly miss them. They have been through a lot with me.

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Haha, thats good to hear bro! Sorry for the late reply.

titaniumuinatit2 karma

Don't worry! The surgery to get the bar out is really quick and you should go home that very same day!

LifeWithPectus3 karma

That's what I have been told. I'm not worrying to much, except the fact that it's not the same doctor as the one I had 3 years ago. But still, I'll be fine. :)

mahworkaccount5 karma

I've got myself a big old pectus excavatum, I've not undergone the nuss procedure, but I went through a period for a few years around middle school (currently I'm 24) where I'd black out for no reason here and there.

It kind of just stopped happening after a while and I just recently read through another pectus thread where people experienced blackouts and the light switch went on in my head that it's probably what caused them.

zags6 karma

I never had blackouts with mine. Sounds like it might be impacting people where it is pressuring their hearts. You should definitely get it taken care of, I know they say its much harder the older you get.

mahworkaccount1 karma

Although you're probably still right that I should get it checked out with the context that it probably happened because of my PE, I don't really think it's as much of an issue any more seeing as how the blackouts stopped when I was maybe 12 or 13. Probably during growth spurts and such when my body was developing. Pretty surprising that my doctor never thought to attribute blackouts to a big gaping hole growing in my chest actually... maybe I should find a new one =/

LifeWithPectus4 karma

Rather safe than sorry man, might be a good idea to get it checked anyway, unless it's to much of a cost:)

LifeWithPectus4 karma

Was you're sunken chest any deeper than mine was? Maybe the lack of room for organs or something similar is what used to cause the blackouts? And now that you are (probably) taller and bigger than you where then they dont occur anymore?

mahworkaccount2 karma

It's kind of hard to tell how deep yours was compared to how mine currently is, I know mine photographs strangely and doesn't really show the shape and how deep it is all too well. But if I had to guess, I'd say mine's about as deep if not very slightly deeper, and mine also is wider.

It sounds to me like that's what was causing the blackouts, I'm guessing it was pressing on my heart or lungs as I grew, but eventually I grew out of it. Thank god it never went past blacking out because my doctor turned me away plenty of times with no real explanation.

LifeWithPectus3 karma

Mine was pretty much as the picture shows.

Damn, sounds like someone is in need for another doctor:)

DeathAndRebirth6 karma

My friend has the same thing! He gets really protective of that area and if you go near it he wont hesitate to punch you haha. Are you the same way with it?

LifeWithPectus3 karma

I wasn't like that no, but really noone ever had the reason to go near it:p It is for sure an area of uncertainty, which may be the reason why:)

Wlpdx6 karma

What is life like for you now, and what are you doing post-operation?

LifeWithPectus10 karma

Life is waaaaaaaay better. There has not been a single moment of regret and I would do it again without even blinking:)

SamwiseTheFool3 karma

Before the operation, did you ever stick things in it for fun?

LifeWithPectus2 karma

Sometimes when I was sitting a little bit backwards in a chair, I could perfectly balance a glass of water or whatever, or a can of coke. I also used the gap to help myself carry plates with food on it when I only had 1 free arm:)

UST3DES3 karma

Just think of the missed opportunity to pour juice in there and drink it with a straw!

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Damn, why did I never think of that.. :(

homerms6783 karma

With the metal bar, do you now BEEP at the airport security check?

LifeWithPectus4 karma

Good question:) Both me, my parents, and the doctor thought it would beep. Therefore when I travel I bring a note from the doctor as a proof that I have metal implanted in my chest. The funny thing is, it has never beeped. Not even once!

Red_Arc3 karma

Hi there :)

Disregarding the aesthetic issue, has the condition effected you in other aspects? Was it a health issue aswell? Did it interfere with your brithing and capability to practice sports or anything of the sort?

LifeWithPectus5 karma

Not that I am aware of. I have never had any problems with breathing and I've played football all my life. I do believe the fact that I was active was healthy for my breathing:)

loondawg3 karma

Was this purely cosmetic surgery or are there health risks associated with the condition?

LifeWithPectus6 karma

There are health risk associated with the condition, yes. The way I suffered the most from it was the way it affected my self-esteem. I am way more confident and secure in myself now than I was back then. I guess some would call this purely cosmetic, but the way I see it, it was bad for my psychological health.

Some who have sunken chest may have bad condition. For example you have less room for your lungs than what you're supposed to have. Also when I was born, the doctor was worried that I had to little space for my heart, but that turned out to be no problem:)

loondawg3 karma

First, let me say there was nothing derogatory intentionally implied in my question. I'm sorry if it came off that way.

I do understand that self-esteem is critically important to a healthy, happy life. I just didn't know if there were specific health concerns beyond that. What you said makes sense.

LifeWithPectus3 karma

It didn't come out the wrong way! No worries man:)

zags1 karma

There can be health risks. In my case my lungs were impacted, for some people it can be your heart.

loondawg1 karma

So what do they do? Do they actually expand the chest cavity somehow?

zags2 karma

In the case of the nuss procedure which is what the op and I both had they insert a curved bar upside down into your chest. Once it is in they flip it up and it pushes your sternum out. I kept the bar in for 2 years then they removed it.

LifeWithPectus1 karma


Bootsykk2 karma

Did you ever have rib flaring problems or did you somehow manage to solve it? Your operation looks amazingly smooth.

Also, how long and painful was the recovery time? I've always wanted to get surgery but I'm fairly active.

LifeWithPectus3 karma

If by rib flaring you mean that my ribs stick out? If so, then yes. My ribs stick out a tiny but when standing up, and a bit more when laying down on my back. This has never been a problem though! The operation could not have gone better!:)

I was not allowed to carry anything heavy the first few weeks. And by that I mean I wasn't even allowed to carry a carton of milk. After 2 months I was allowed to participate in the gym class at school, and after 6 month I was so to say fully functional.

The first 4-5 days were the worst, when it comes to the pain. But it was never a problem. After 3-4 months I could barely feel any pain at all, and the pain only occured if I did any sudden movements with my chest. After 5-6 months it was completely gone:)

How long and painful the recovery time is varies from person to person:)

downl0ad1 karma

So having the procedure done did not fix the rib flaring? Or has it helped somewhat?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

It's very hard to tell, I havent focused so much about it. It has never been a problem for me. :)

TLitten2 karma

I have this as well and I seriously hate it. I have been wanting to do the procedure for quite some time, but the funds are lacking. Couple questions:

  1. How was post-op? How long was the downtime and soreness involved? I heard you aren't really allowed to do anything physical for quite some time afterwards.

  2. Is there an age limit to get the procedure done? I am 23 so I figure I wont grow very much and I wonder if that will effect the operation.

LifeWithPectus2 karma

  1. The first week is obviously the worst, but there is only uphill after that. The pain and soreness was never really a problem. I was allowed to run and such after 2 months, and after 6 months I was fully functioning.

  2. There is no age limit, no. But the best age to go through with the procedure is when in puberty, when you're not fully grown yet. That is when you're bones is a bit more flexible, which makes everything so much easier. :)

HeartyBeast2 karma

How many Harry Potter jokes do you get when you tell people the name of the condition?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Haha, actually I got non. But that is cus before I was 15 I never knew the latin name. :) Probably missed a lot of fun because of that. :/

Alysiat282 karma

Do you know what caused it? Do you have Marfan syndrome or another connective tissue disorder?

LifeWithPectus4 karma

About 1 in 1000 are born with pectus excavatum, and as far as I know nothing special is causing it. It seemes like it is just a condition one is born with. And no, I do not have Marfan syndrome or another connective tissue order!

Alysiat281 karma

Sorry, I hope I didn't offend you. Most cases I have heard about pectus excavatum accompany another disorder. Glad to see you are not dealing with anything else.

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Didn't offend me at all:)

mcs11271 karma

My girlfriend had the same condition except (IIRC) hers was so severe that they had to technically perform open-heart surgery on her by opening up her chest right in the middle, breaking her sternum (maybe even a couple ribs) and implanting the bar to basically push her chest back out. Was this operation a possibility for you or was yours not as bad?

Also, she got her bar taken out in May and despite 2-ish weeks of being really really sore and another week or two of being progressively less sore, everything went really well. Good luck to you in October

edit: I believe the name of the surgery she had is the modified ravitch procedure

LifeWithPectus1 karma

I would say mine is nowhere close to as bad as how your girlfriend was. I'm glad everything went well with her. Thank you!

Convictions1 karma

I have Pectus Excavatum, it's a slight case and my doctors say I don't need surgery, but it's seriously embarrassing to have my stomach come out further than my chest, would you say it's still worth it to get it for someone like me? Doubtful insurance would even think of covering it.

LifeWithPectus2 karma

If you can finance it without any problems and debt, I'd say go for it:) Your well being is important!

Convictions1 karma

Thanks, I just don't know if I should just accept it for what it is, I mean they say it doesn't cause any problems for me but I swear I have trouble breathing sometimes.

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Well noone knows your body better than yourself, obviously. I wouldn't give up without a fight knowing that life could be better. :)

hurricanebarker1 karma

I too have the same condition along with Asthma. Was the surgery for cosmetic purposes or for health reasons?

Andddddd, how are you now with self-esteem and confidence at the beach/shirtless?

LifeWithPectus2 karma

Answered this one quite a few times, so I'll keep it short.

The surgery was for both cosmetic purposes and health reasons. Never had any physical health issues, only psychological. My self-esteem is 100x better, so is my confidence at the beach/shirtless. :)

nickrick26411 karma

I have pectus carinatum, I'm 22 and in the U.S. 2 doctors told me I can't do anything about it. And one chiropractor is solemnly blaming my brain for it. What can I do?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Dont know quite as much about pectus carinatum, taking in consideration its the opposite of what I had. I have heard that it's a whole another deal, and sadly I'm not sure if it's even fixable. :(

I have no idea how the chiropractor can blame the bone structure on something psychological tho, sounds weird to me. Best of luck!

Mantiora1 karma

Hey! I also have sunken chest, and I'm really glad hearing that someone had balls to go for a operation, because I basically couldn't handle my life if I had pain constantly and likely coudn't excersize, even though I still can't look to myself in the mirror. I just hope, that one day I'll get over it. (18 years old) How did other people around you reacted to your sunken chest, before the operation?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

I didn't let many others know about, except from my inner circle:)

Im no pain what so ever and I'm fully able to exercise, and it's been like this for over 2 years, so don't worry about that!

PurpleAkisMuscleRub1 karma

Is there a problem with having a sunken chest or is it just people staring at it?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

The chance of having physical or/and physological issues is there. :)

Nevex1691 karma

i was operated like 4 or 5 years ago too (im 19 atm), to pectus carinatum, which is the same thing but my chest grows to the "outside" instead to the inside like you (cant explain properly lol). But i got a pretty huge scar, almost 12 cm in the middle of the chest, similar to hearth scars, i kind felt drepressed about the size of it, even after these years its still hard to take my shirt off. How hard was it to discover what you had? (i remember that i had to go to lots of different doctors and did some x-rays, and only when i got to a thoracic expert he immediatly told me what i had. soz for english

LifeWithPectus1 karma

I do know what pectus carinatum is. :)

Pectus excavatum is way more common and way easier to fix, so it didnt cause me much trouble to figure it all out!

Kitttey1 karma

Interesting to see someone else with the same condition as me! I'm 20 and don't plan on getting any operation. Why did you decide to get the operation?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

It was tearing my down psychologically, figured going thru the operation would be the easiest for me. :)

pamplemus1 karma

why did you have the surgery done? were you just insecure or were there medical reasons as well?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Look at the answer I gave ''loondawg'' :)

zags1 karma

I had the surgery 10 years or so ago. One of our family friends had severe pectus and his surgery had a lot of complications. I had always assumed I was just skinny but hearing his story made me realize I had pectus. Mine had minor medical impact but the main reason was insecurity.

pamplemus1 karma

what exactly were you insecure about? like, what were the negative thoughts you had surrounding this? i ask because my husband has this, and it's such a non-issue for both of us.

LifeWithPectus1 karma

At a young age in these modern days, you dont want to be the odd man out. Especially not as odd as I was.

When you're 15 years old, body pressure and how you look suddenly gets so much more focus. And the fact that I was the only one at my school who had the condition didn't make it any easier:)

pamplemus1 karma

did you consider therapy for your self-esteem issues before getting surgery? if not, why not?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Never considered it. But I would for sure if it wasnt for the operation being free of cost:) Having in mind that the operation was free, and having a really low chance of anything going wrong, the pain and the 2 weeks away from school was a small price to pay:)

Putin_Me_Like1 karma

What would happen if you didn't have the operation? Life threatening?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

For me it wasn't life threatening. Dangerous in some aspects? Maybe.

Now I have more room for my heart and lungs. :)

BeSteveman1 karma

I had a friend in high school who had this condition, I had no idea it could be fixed like that. He used to eat cereal out of his chest hole. We've always considered filming a porno where a bunch of black men would jizz into his chest hole and fill it with cum and then he would drink all the jizz out of his chest hole with a straw. Have you ever considered doing weird porn stuff with your chest condition before it was fixed?

LifeWithPectus2 karma


Dexadrine1 karma

So can they extend out your ribs each like 4-5cm? Give you a nice big barrel chest? :D

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Haha, they didn't extend my ribs, only broke them into a more place. :)

JukeJointJezebelle1 karma

Good to see others with this talking about it. I'm glad the bar has worked for you. For years I had drs refuse to do anything and heard every excuse to leave it, which was depressing. I am too thin for the nuss bar, it would have ripped through my skin. I was so upset with my body image I took matters into my own hands when I was 27 and found a specialist who made a custom implant for me, and like you have never looked back. The only problem I have now is a rib that sticks out, but that doesn't bother me. Did you find it hard with relationships?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Makes me glad that everything turned out good for you!

I was never in a serious relationship that went far enough for my PE to be a problem. I think if a relationship ever went that far, I would wait until I was 100% sure in our relationship. In a way that my PE wouldn't matter at all. :)

Insecto1011 karma

I have PE as well and have no intention to get surgery so why did you?

after rereading this it seemed kind of dickish but I do respect your decision even if I would not do the same.

LifeWithPectus2 karma

Doesn't seem dickish at all bro. I was the only one at my school with PE. I wasn't very confident. I was suffering psychologically, and since the surgery wouldn't cost me or my family any money, I'd might as well do it for my well being. :)

CyanideGatorade1 karma

Tell me about the worse things about the operation....pain, going to the bathroom, what happens after the surgery and how did you feel? Don't downplay it I am genuinely curious.

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Okay so this is the absolute worst thing that happened. The first days I constantly had antibiotics injected through a thin tube in my back, to ease the pain. One night I woke up in serious pain, and it turned out the bag with the antibiotics in it was empty, cus the doctor forgot to renew it before I went to sleep. I called for the doctor and it took him 30 minutes to get to me, and it was 30 minutes where it felt like my chest were going to explode. Literally. This was obviously not something that was supposed to happen and it usually never occurs.

The first few days I didnt go to the bathroom at all. I just peed by my self in a bag, which I had no control over when happened because the antibiotics were to strong. A really weird feeling tbh. Haha.

When laying there after the surgery I was mostly tired and numb, I could barely feel my chest at all, was kinda special.

aghughes11 karma

I have a mild case of this, is it worth being attended too?

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Depends how mild it is. It's not necessarily dangerous, but if it bothers you it can't hurt to get it checked out. :)

jungle_j1m1 karma


LifeWithPectus2 karma

For me it was the right choice. Even though it's not the right choice for everyone. Going through with the surgery has helped me to a better life, I'm geniunly happier and more confident. :)

redlancer251 karma

Friend of mine had the exact same condition and surgery, now he has his bar out and is playing college sports. I must ask from experiencing this from him, did you ever eat cereal out of your sunken chest or drink mountain dew out of it?

LifeWithPectus2 karma

Hahaha, sadly I never did. This is my only regret. :(

GershBinglander1 karma

What did they do to "unsunk" it?

Was it just a visual this, or is it part of something more dangerous?

LifeWithPectus4 karma

To fix it, the doctors implanted a metal bar across my chest. From the scar on my right side til the one on my left side. I went throught what is called nuss procedure. Look it up on Wikipedia for more details!:)

sentient_trollface2 karma

Glad to see that you had it taken care of! I had the same procedure when I was 14 (now 26). Was told that at the time that it wasn't causing any immediate health issues, but if it was left untreated, it would eventually start to put pressure on my heart and lungs. Were there any issues with your health that it may have been causing to lead you to have it corrected?

LifeWithPectus2 karma

As mentioned earlier, I never had any psysical issues:)

bozobozo1 karma

What is your favorite dinosaur?

LifeWithPectus2 karma

The Giganotosaurus was a crazy fella.

bozobozo1 karma

The crazy part is that those huge fuckers probably hunted in packs to take down their prey.

LifeWithPectus1 karma

Man thats a scary thought

MaxiBoi981 karma

How did your chest effect your performance in sports and physical activities?

LifeWithPectus3 karma

Not any that I know of. It's common that people with the condition have a downgraded lung capacity, but as mentioned I played fotball all my life so I never noticed anything:)

MaxiBoi982 karma

That's interesting, because one of my best friends has the same condition and he plays trumpet with no problem. Maybe if you keep your lungs and chest exercised you can avoid any real problems.

LifeWithPectus3 karma

That might be!:)

cptstupendous1 karma

Congrats on your successful operation!

Will your chest be a permanent weak spot for the rest of your life like a video game boss or will your ribcage be able to fulfill its duty in protecting you? Can you take up boxing in the future, for instance, and survive a blow to the chest?

LifeWithPectus2 karma


My chest will not be a weak spot, no. Wether I can take up boxing or not I have no idea. And I have no plans about doing so, so I guess we will never know. A single blow to the chest every now and then I'm sure I would survive. :)

Dementio_1 karma


LifeWithPectus1 karma

Haha, thats good to hear!

The condition wasn't causing me any physical pain, but rather a lot of psychological. It's very common that persons with PE suffer from it psychologically.

Dementio_1 karma


LifeWithPectus1 karma

Yes, 0 confidence, a tad bit depressed etc.

SamwiseTheFool-1 karma

Do you really consider yourself an 18 year olf boy? Why not an 18-year old man?

LifeWithPectus4 karma

Yes I consider a 18 year old male a boy. Compare the maturity of a 18 year old boy to a 30 year old man?

Unrelevant question.

Wise mofo:)